I can save you a lot of time right here if you just read this summary instead of slogging through all the following words until the end:
I take years to plan things out just so for in my landscape design keeping true to my vision of the final appearance. My husband doesn’t even think about the garden except to suggest pruning beautiful mature growth at the peak of its beauty with a chain saw and to declare that he doesn’t want anything “hanging over”. And so when confronted with actual plant placement, he develops an instant unalterable opinion about what should be and why my plan is wrong.
That’s really all you need to know, but do read on if you care about the details.
I should also say that he’s a bit worried about me because I’ve recently taken to sleeping 18 out of every 24 hours and that’s why when after my morning nap I idly suggested we go out together to look for bird baths, he was enthusiastically for it. Not for the shared garden center adventure but more for getting me out into the fresh air.
Well, heading for a garden center on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the affluent central NJ suburbs. What could go wrong? I won’t bore you with the parking spot wars but suffice to say that the skinnier the snooty bitch driving, the bigger the SUV. It never matters if you’re right or wrong because unless you are in the SUV, you are going to lose anyway.
Once parked, we entered my favorite nurse center in search of the perfect birdbath and perhaps one or two yellow Knock Out Roses. We had to pass the fountain display first and Sami is nothing but a sucker for fountains. They had something for everyone: Tuscan-like, Woodsy/Fairy-like, big wet balls, jugs flowing into other jugs. But here is one that I bet will remain unsold the entire season:
The thing was about 4 feet tall, and unless I miss my guess about the popularity of meerkats in Monmouth County, destined for the clearance section sooner rather than later. Also, we must have missed the memo to bring your little dog out shopping with you today.
So. We visited 3 garden centers and looked at all of the BBs.
- The first place had a large selection of shiny ceramic ones and they were beautiful and on sale for only $49.00. I did make a mental note to circle back for a charming celadon green one with the crackle finish if we didn’t see anything better. We both agreed this would be a good thing to have in the new rose bed.
- The second place was one of those open field, dirt and gravel staging areas for giant tiered fountains, lion pairs and the occasional concrete mermaid and sea captain. There were a few reasonably priced birdbaths and they were all concrete which is my favorite. They were all acceptable but none were thrilling until I spotted a squat little concrete tree stump with a concrete nest on top of it where three fat concrete birds perched. It was perfect except that it was only half the width and half the height of what I had in mind. I still liked it but Sami developed a psychic pain between his shoulder blades that told him that if I didn’t get 100% of what I wanted, we’d be bird bath shopping again next year.
- Finally, the schmancy horse-country garden center with a big selection of clay, concrete, resin and ceramic baths. They were all three times the price of the other places and hard to get to because you had to squeeze around the bronze horse statues to get to them. We were on the way out when we spotted hidden in some flowering shrubs a single bird bath, cast concrete, that had an attractive nickle-sized overall pebble pattern molded into it. It was marked down from $189.00 to $29.00 and Sami declared it was the best we had seen all day AND NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE PRICE EITHER.
We had a car full of rose bushes so we went home, but on the way, someone made a decision and we turned the car around to buy one of the birdbaths mentioned above. Which one do you think it was?
FYI – we spent the evening locked in hot debate about whether the new rose bushes should be planted in a symmetrical arc or an asymmetrical pattern. No clear winner here yet.
UPDATE: 8:30pm After dinner and a mild dust-up about improper use of oregano in a salad, I’m sitting in the front room reading and I hear him rattling around in the closet looking for a jacket. He’s off to his customary Burger King visit for the nightly cup of 38¢ senior citizen coffee. He opens the front door and takes a step forward, then leans back in and says: “Hey! I enjoyed our shopping trip together today!” and starts laughing like a bastard. I can hear him laughing after the door closes and he walks down the driveway.